Creative placemaking can seem like a very grown-up pursuit. From meeting with elected officials and applying for permits to interviewing artists and measuring outcomes, many of our field’s hallmark activities are not typically associated with under-18s.
But young people—known for their high energy, fresh thinking, honesty, and curiosity—can of course play crucial roles in efforts to position arts and culture at the center of community development. At our 2019 Annual Summit in Jackson, Mississippi, we made this on-camera request of some of the (adult) participants:
"Tell us about a time when a young person you've worked with has inspired you."
We particularly loved hearing from LaShawnda Crowe Storm, co-leader of RECLAIM and leader of The Lynch Quilts Project, who described a presentation she gave at a conference for young people involved in theater.
A 16-year-old attendee who was “really taken aback about encountering histories around lynching and racial violence” asked LaShawnda, “What do I do? I feel it in my body,” and began to dance fitfully. “I feel this history and this pain—how do I get it out? I need to get it out!” LaShawnda replied to her:
“I don’t know, because I’m not a dancer, and I’m not a theater person. But I’m happy to walk alongside you, and we’ll keep saying that, because the question is, ‘How do you get it out?’ That is her call now. How do we get these histories out of our body and make it into something that’s beautiful?”
Get more bite-sized video inspiration on the ArtPlace YouTube channel.